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More Details Of The Shirebrook JobCentre Situation

September 17, 2014

Remember this post, readers?

I’ve just recieved full details of the situation from Paul Yates at the Welfair Foundation:

Hi,
 
Not sure if there is anything in particular you would like to know, if 
there is then please don’t hesitate to ask. The more information that 
gets out about this the better.
 
Please feel free to post any or all of the following information on 
online.
 
A local lady (Shirebrook) recently received a letter from Shirebrook 
Jobcentre giving her an appointment for a work-focused interview. She is 
in the Support Group of ESA and in receipt of both the care component 
and mobility component of PIP at the enhanced rate. She is severely 
disabled and very frightened about what lies ahead for her now in 
regards to sanctions/workfare etc.
 
She telephoned Shirebrook Jobcentre to enquire whether there had been a 
mistake and they informed her that all ESA claimants, including those in 
the Support Group, now have to attend work-focused interviews to discuss 
returning to work.
 
We were present at the second telephone call that she made to Shirebrook 
JC and she was again told that all Support Group claimants in Shirebrook 
were being called in for the interviews and anybody not attending will 
have their benefits sanctioned.
 
We have no idea why they are calling Support Group claimants in. When 
the lady contacted the JC the second time, whilst we were present, the 
JC refused to give the lady an email address for the manager and said 
“There is nothing you can do to change the appointment. You have to 
attend”.
 
This is absolutely bizarre and we have never heard of his happening 
before. I have made a Freedom of Information request to the DWP 
regarding Support Group claimants having to attend work-focused 
interviews and I am considering raising this matter with our local MP 
who handily happens to be Dennis Skinner.
 
I have attached the letter in question for your perusal.
 
Thank you for publicising this issue and helping us to spread the word 
about this.
 
Kind regards,
 
Paul Yates

Shirebrook job centre scan 1
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30 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffrey davies permalink
    September 17, 2014 12:43 pm

    another ploy fron rtu ids of getting the disabled and sick back to work or kill them trying ops jeff3

  2. September 17, 2014 1:07 pm

    This is from the WCA training manual Training & Development
    Revised WCA Handbook
    ESA (Amendment) Regulations 2011 and 2012)
    MED-ESAAR2011/2012HB~001
    Version: 6 Final
    19 March 2013

    P20 If the Decision Maker accepts that a claimant does reach the threshold of having Limited Capability for Work, they are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG). The claimant will be required to attend a series of Work Focussed Interviews (WFIs) with the Personal Adviser. The first WFI will take place after the decision on inclusion into the WRAG. The interviews will be conducted at intervals to suit the customer’s labour market likelihood of employment and needs. During these sessions, the claimant will draw up an agreed action plan of activity which is intended to help them with a potential return to work. This may include interventions such as retraining, education or condition management programmes. Their engagement in this process will result in entitlement to the “Work related Activity” component of ESA in addition to the basic ESA allowance

    1.5 Sanctioning
    The process of sanctioning lies out with the AH process. To receive the higher rates of benefit, the claimant must be considered to be carrying out “reasonable steps” to manage their condition and help move them towards the workplace.
    If the DM considers that the claimant has failed to participate in work related activity, then the claimant may be sanctioned and their rate of benefit reduced. (Please note this next bit)

    Those in the Support Group will not be required to participate in work related activity and will therefore not be subject to sanctioning procedures. However a claimant in the Support Group may opt to participate voluntarily in work related activity and engage with a PA.

    • September 17, 2014 1:17 pm

      Thanks for posting this passage of the WCA training manual. I’ll have a look for the whole thing online and give it read. I haven’t been able to find anything concrete myself that confirms claimants in the Support Group can’t be sanctioned.

      • September 17, 2014 1:57 pm

        feel free to connect either via twitter of Linked in and I can email any document I have

      • September 20, 2014 2:24 pm

        Do you know of any others this has happened to?

  3. September 17, 2014 1:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  4. September 17, 2014 2:13 pm

    Hi Paula, it’s in the doc, if in support group taking part in WRA is voluntary and not mandatory so not subject to sanctioning procedures, mention it to the Beast he’ll love it

  5. September 17, 2014 3:00 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  6. David permalink
    September 17, 2014 4:18 pm

    Support group

    You don’t have to go to interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser. You’re usually in this group if your illness or disability severely limits what you can do.

    Benefits sanctions
    Your ESA can be reduced if you don’t go to interviews or do work-related activity as agreed with your adviser. The reduction can continue for up to 4 weeks.

    https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/what-youll-get

    Seems clear to me. It follows that someone who is in the support group will only be sanctioned for not attending a repeat “medical” Someone who is in the support group, not wishing to be awkward, may accept an invitation to a single meeting but not being processed in a WRAG way. If that is all the Jobcenter intended, their letter is entirely wrong.

  7. Ken Webb permalink
    September 17, 2014 5:05 pm

    The claimants original letter of membership to the elite support group would have contained the option to voluntarily take part in work focussed interviews. If the claimant still has this letter, then she should produce it to the jobcentre manager and politely tell him to shove his suggestion where the sun don’t shine.

  8. Ken Webb permalink
    September 17, 2014 5:07 pm

    Addendum to above: I believe that voluntary acceptance gives them the right to expect you to attend, so never agree to attending.

  9. Sasson Hann permalink
    September 18, 2014 7:05 am

    We know what it says in the handbook, but then the DWP seem to disregard such things from time to time. You cannot expect them to play fair so it’s always best to cover yourself and attend any appointment.

    Hopefully, there are going to be so many people affected in the area that if all complain and contact their M.P. the matter should be cleared up.

    That’s all very well but no doubt most of these people will be severely affected with the anxiety impacting on their health. It’s bad enough waiting for the brown envelope to come let alone finding that the DWP have moved the goal posts yet again.

    Thoughts are with you all.

  10. September 19, 2014 10:11 am

    Reblogged this on Diary of an SAH Stroke Survivor.

  11. September 19, 2014 1:22 pm

    i am thinking…………… again………is it mandatory that someone in WRAG should be forced into going self-employed even if not really capable of running a business AND be forced into taking out a start up loan that they will never be able to repay? on threat of being sent on workfare to work in charity shops etc if they dont at least apply for this loan. nothing has been said about what happens if they are turned down for this loan other than try elsewhere.

    i know you have put my original query elsewhere but i cannot find out. do you have a link to it please?

  12. September 19, 2014 1:33 pm

    ok have found it finally. dont know why i couldnt see it before. thanks for your help./

  13. September 20, 2014 9:14 am

    Never Mind the are Breaking their OWN Rules – DWP Breaks its Own Rules when threatening Support Group Membershttp://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/dwp-breaks-its-own-rules-when-threatening-support-group-members/

  14. September 20, 2014 12:36 pm

    If you receive any letters from JCP or any other government dept for that matter; always look at the bottom left hand side. You will see in this case it is “F1 ESA Mandatory 01/13” this is a template letter F1 = Factsheet 1 printed in Jan 13.

    I think that someone at the jobcentre has used the wrong letter template; the clue is in the word “mandatory”

  15. September 20, 2014 5:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  16. September 20, 2014 5:53 pm

    I have come across this before, it was an error between the jobcentre and the DWP, but it took a lot of work to persuade them they had their facts wrong. We went in to the jobcentre with the letter confirming that our colleague was in the support group, and a printout of the DWP manual pages plus FOI reports from the DWP, and they had to admit their mistake. There’s a FOI answer that confirms this here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/152691/response/370936/attach/html/3/Response%201173.pdf.html.

  17. September 20, 2014 7:25 pm

    Reblogged this on The Greater Fool and commented:
    A very disturbing development. People who even the DWP & ATOS have recognised as permanently disabled and unfit for work being bullied into attending work focused interviews.

  18. aturtle05 permalink
    September 21, 2014 2:48 pm

    IDS and the DWP seem to think that only if you are in a complete vegetative state, i.e. comatose or totally bedridden, you are entitled to Support Group. If you need any assistance in moving you are a scrounger and therefore entitled only to slow death by starvation or mental torture by being restricted to living in your house with no resource to help to attend appointments be they Medical or Claim related.

  19. Kevin Banner permalink
    October 13, 2014 1:57 am

    I have not been assessed by atos yet but have been “asked” to come in for an interview twice, the second time the letter was sent the day after the first interview. I have not dared to miss the appointments as I could not afford to go without my esa payments.

  20. mike permalink
    December 12, 2014 8:19 pm

    mine has no official mark at the bottom left hand side. ses pop in for a chat we love to see you

Trackbacks

  1. Are you in the ESA Support Group? Have you been asked to attend a Work Focussed Interview? | The Welfair Foundation
  2. Are you in the ESA Support Group and have been asked to attend a Work Focussed Interview? | jaynelinney
  3. DWP Breaks its Own Rules when threatening Support Group Members | jaynelinney
  4. DWP Breaks its Own Rules when threatening Support Group Members – Jayne Linney | Vox Political
  5. Work focused interviews for people in ESA support group? | Kate Belgrave

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